Picture, video + a Muscular Quiz

1. Here is a photo I took at the oval a few days ago of a Japanese university team skater training at the Utah Oval-

They love their speedskating! and I really enjoy watching them train. I wish there was less of a language barrier.

2. For a project I am working on (unconnected with this website) I followed the national allaround team for a lap as they wound up to speed. They were doing multiple 29-30 second laps, that’s roughly 30-32mph (50+Kph), and I shot some interesting video.

This is the closest I have ever come to visually documenting what long track at speed feels like (a 25 second lap is quite insane from this perspective, someday I will capture that on video, if I can ever go that fast again!).

This was in the middle of a long set of these fast laps, so the skaters were already tired as the clip begins. I added in a slow-mo bit of the fast parts, so you can really see the push direction, corner rhythm flow, and control. These guys can REALLY skate!

It’s worth noting this is not even close to their top speed. Liam Ortega is leading, then Pat Meek in red, Chad Hedrick, John Loquai, and Ron Macky is last in line wearing all black & enjoying the considerable draft created at this speed.

Start the YouTube below, or click here for the quicktime.

I really need a helmet cam, going this fast his while handholding a camera is difficult, and frankly, a tad bit dangerous. Also I tend to not breathe as I try & hold the camera steady.

It’s hard to skate very far without breathing (even for an already distance-challenged sprinter!).

3. I’ve got a nasty “owie” that hopefully does not develop into an “injury”. And it’s in an interesting spot.

First of all, I hurt this muscle doing VERY intense off-ice turn simulations, & the muscle that I hurt performs this function according to wikipedia:

The action is primarily to lift the upper leg towards the body when the body is fixed or to pull the body towards the leg when the leg is fixed.

that second half sounds like a turn, doesn’t it?

Can you guess what muscle I hurt?

Here is a hint, I’m quite sure speedskaters have VERY developed versions of this muscle compared to the rest of the population, and in average people it’s about the thickness & length of your forearm.

Guess again…..

Scroll down for the answer

Ok, I admit it, this is a trick question, but a fascinating muscle to understand. I am fairly sure I hurt the upper part of my Psoas major. It lies inside the ribcage, and connects from the inside of your spine into the lower pelvis.

This is a trick question because despite its size, you can’t see the Psoas, at all, it’s completely internal.

I never knew about this muscle until I looked at the actual human dissections at the Bodyworlds III exhibit in Portland. The Psoas is HUGE, and so essential to what we do on ice or wheels (or standing up, for that matter) -when it’s hurting, skating in a powerful position really stings.

The quadriceps get all the attention, but just like the unheralded & virually unknown Piriformis, the Psoas is one of those little essentials in the magical symphony of hip flexors that keeps a skater going.

note: this feels like an “owie”, not a true injury, a bit of rest, minimal intensity, and I should be ok in a few days.

15 Responses to “Picture, video + a Muscular Quiz”

  1. I’m sorry to tell you that before I scrolled down, I had gotten the answer correct hehehe! However, I commonly refer to is as the Ilio-psoas group as they work together.

    The Bodies exhibit was great! Saw it here in Miami! It was an embodiment of poetry.

    I hope you are icing the “owie” area with a big pack and taking your advil to go to sleep! I think you’ll be fine! :)

  2. WOW that ice looks AMAZING!!!! We need to get your zamboni dude over here :)

  3. yes, the ice is amazing…

    every time I hear someone whine about how “slow” it feels on this day or that day in Salt Lake, I usually gently apply the Lake Placid ice standard corrective— (if it’s not below zero, or blizzarding, or rain is making the concrete show through in patches, the ice is REALLY GREAT)…..

    it’s really incredible skating here on a daily basis.. I spent many years living FAR from a long track, so I can appriciate this facility.

    Pancho… yes, bodyworks was astonishing.. and almost too much to absorb at once…

    I am taking advil, and drinking lots of iced diet coke, after all, it’s a deep muscle, internal… does that count???

  4. wow, this ice looks fabulous
    yes, superb skating
    andrew you are a skate magician: holding the camera steady at top speed

    owie: american pounds or european kilo’s?
    (rest works wonders)

    piriformis: some dance amd physical therapy experts claim this muscle to be the crucial link for centering and power-development. Some tai chi masters like you to softly squeeze this region and tailbone =region towards each other. (and then do what you want to do - for example skating..)

    good focus and enjoy

  5. Wow! That is some cool video!! What’s amazing to me is how effortless they look at regular speed, but how much force you can see that they’re applying when you slow things down… (nice job on the photography, too–I think it’s time to spring for a “helmet cam” Or maybe that would be “hood cam…”)

    Now, about that “owie” (which hopefully will remain merely an owie)–I think you’re on the right track with the iced Diet Coke, but I’m pretty sure that this particular muscle requires something a bit stronger…I prescribe Diet Mountain Dew…

  6. Hey Andrew — WOW… awesome video. I watched the entire thing wondering how on earth you were possibly doing that with a hand-held camera?!… Good grief, now *that* is talent!

    I was actually thinking about the psoas the other day. Not anyone’s in particular; it was just one of those anatomy geek + dryland = very strange thoughts during 9′ repetitions of low walk moments. Psoas rhymes with sore-ass. Which is fitting, given their prevalence in such sport as long track.

    Regarding psoas injuries, once the inflammation goes down, massage helps to keep things from flaring up again. But you’re right, it’s a mighty deep muscle… getting the iliapsoas worked on by an RMT feels akin to having someone drive a finger into your kidneys… through the intestines and bladder. It’s not very fun. But it DOES help.

  7. Andrew,
    Thank you so much for this video…it’s exactly what I need now that I can’t even get on the ice…I broke my wrist on Wednesday and won’t be back on until November. No competing for me until late December/January. I get to miss a Sue Ellis camp I signed up for!

    Yikes, it sounds like a painful almost-injury. A few days isn’t that bad, is it?

    P.S. I typed this reply with my right hand only! I’m very proud of myself

  8. Andrew,

    How are your Powercranks doing? :)

  9. panch0….


    Get better soon Andrew!

  10. oh, that muscle sounds very much like the one that I’m now suffering some kind of high-torsion-induced pain from. except I think I stressed it doing a wrenching uphill-bike effort…

  11. Mel-
    it a strange muscle, and you can’t really massage it, as it’s on the wrong side of the ribs!!! As Meg pointed out, reaching it from the front HURTS…

    I raced this past weekend (slow, but I raced) and was ok, the injury has healed enough to skate, but the lifting, dryland & ballistic stuff I need to be doing still stings…

    Pancho -
    I use my powercranks habitually in the off season, I tend to go back to regular cranks once it’s the racing season, as the bike becomes a method of recovery,

    as you are a stud-track cyclist, you will appriciate that I ride fixed gear quite a bit….

  12. Andrew,

    Would you mind asking Chad Hedrick when his website will be updated?


  13. I don’t work for chad anymore, he is unsure what he wants to do with his website, but I will ask him…

  14. Ok thanks!

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